The absolute shame. I had wholeheartedly intended to take part in the Linky over at bumblesofrice.comThis linky is all about taking photos of your dinner every day for a week. It’s a fun accountability exercise where we all tell the truth about what we are feeding our families. It’s funny, humble and gives you great ideas for meal planning. I’ve loved reading through all the different posts, which you can read yourself here. But do you think I managed to do it myself? Nope. I’m a complete sham. Every evening I would sit down to my dinner, delighted to be finally sitting down and I’d have the dinner hoovered up before I remembered to take a photo. 

I did manage to take a couple of photos, but due to the pain in the ass phone I possess (think four year old i phone that constantly requires me to delete older photos to allow me to take a new one) the quality was either disastrous or the photo disappeared in to some unknown place in internet land. So it was never going to happen really was it? However, all is not lost. In the midst of trying to take part in the linky, I did happen to have a bit of an epiphany. That being the realisation that I have become a fiercely boring cook. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some lovely dishes of late. But none of them required anything new and exciting, a recipe, planning or any kind of charisma. Can food be charismatic? Of course it can. It can also be a bit sexy, let’s be honest.

So, in addressing my boringness as a chef, I decided to backtrack on my impressive collection of food photos on my phone. I ended up finding a few photos that reminded me of exciting meals gone by and this has given me great motivation to pull the finger out and get back to creating interesting meals. I’ve been relying far too much on the likes of pasta dishes, burgers, and basically convenience food. Albeit home-made and delicious convenience food. It feels like a miracle in itself to even make a dinner from scratch these days, so I’m going to cut myself a little bit of slack here and say that I haven’t been all that bad. But my God there have been many many carbs. I’m a total carb-addict and that isn’t a good thing. I do think the colder weather brings out the carb monster in us all though. There is something warm and comforting about pasta, potatoes, rice and the likes. I’m looking forward to the weather perking up a bit and the introduction of more salady things. And smaller jeans! 

Another thing I want to look in to is batch cooking. That’s another thing that Sinead from bumblesofrice.com knows more than a thing or two about. Some of her best tips can be found right here. I’m finding that more often than not these days I’m completely un-motivated to cook at all by the time dinner time comes around. My boyfriend is a great cook but by the time he gets in from work and Billy has gone to bed, it’s a bit late to be starting the cooking process. So really it makes all the different if I get things started. The problem lies in the fact that Billy is usually a bit fussy in the evenings. A combination of tiredness, teething pain and this bloomin’ cold that will not leave his body and is living there rent free. So the evenings are based around winding him down and making him as comfortable as possible to give us the best chance of a good night’s sleep all round. I usually feed Billy his dinner at 6pm, then have a play, bath him, pjs, story, watch pajanimals (I LOVE that program, it’s adorable), feed him and then he’ll be asleep by 8 or so. There isn’t really a great time to go and make a nice meal. It ends up being quite rushed and a bit stressful. So, I’ve been thinking about how handy it would be to have some frozen batch-cooked meals at the ready for days where I know I’m going to be out and about or too tired to be Nigella in the kitchen. 

So yes, batch cooking. Watch this space. I also want to batch cook for Billy. Only this week I made a big pot of vegetable minestrone and got several portions to freeze. It’s super handy. Like tomorrow for example, I’m out for the day and having lunch at a friend’s house. So tonight I’ll take one of the lunch-sized portions of Minestrone out of the freezer and it’ll be defrosted and ready to reheat for his lunch tomorrow. Super super handy. 

So now we will have a rather pointless array of photos that I found on my I phone. Some have given me inspiration for future cooking, some just made me smile. Others made me hungry. 

                             

This is chicken faghita lasagne. It’s awful exotic isn’t it? So easy to make though, and a huge crowd pleaser. Reheats really well for the next day’s lunch too. Recipe can be found here.

                                        

Peter’s famous sausage and choritzo cassarole. This is just pure comfort food. And quite healthy too. A real winter warmer. Recipe is here.

                                           


Oh stop it. Doesn’t this look pretty? It was marvellous let me tell you. The prawns were marinated in some lime/garlic concoction and served on a bed of griddled courgette with a warm salad on the side. Beautiful.


                                               

Just a random mid-week pasta dish that ended up being a thing of beauty. Griddled broccoli, courgette and red peppers, a jar of pasta sauce (shock, we do generally make our own), penne and some smoked cheese.

                                  

This might be one of the nicest plates of dinner I was ever handed. I remember it well. I had been working in The Olympia and got home late. Peter made this gorgeous pasta dish with salmon, rocket and God knows what else. It was devoured in about two minutes flat. The garlic bread was home-made using Food Doctor pitta breads. 
                               

This is becoming a serious trip down memory lane. When we lived in the apartment we watched an episode of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Minute Meals and decided to try and recreate a dish. We did a pretty good job. It was feckin’ fabulous. Medium rare steak (on the griddle pan, always on the griddle pan), fancy salad things, pitta bread, and I think there may even be some grilled halloumi in there. Plus, food just looks great when served on a wooden board doesn’t it?

                                       

Good times. Myself and himself did a cookery class with The Italian School Of Cookery and it was so so good. I can’t recommended it enough. It’s well worth the money (we paid €40 each) and you sit down at the end of the class with all the other people and eat a meal of what you’ve cooked, with wine. It was a lovely experience. Making our own pasta was really cool. And guess how many times we’ve done it since? Yep, zero. 
                                      

And this is one of the dishes we made at the cooking course. I don’t know how to explain it other than saying there was thinly sliced aubergine rolled up with a basil leaf inside, covered in a delightful arrabiata type of sauce, and covered in cheese. How’s that for tasty?

                               

This was me trying to re-create my favourite Thai dish from The Lemongrass Restaurant. Nasi Goreng. It turned out pretty damn good actually.


                                 

                     Home-made shepards pie. Simple, to the point, and still utterly classy.


                                     


    And after that exhausting blog post it was Billy’s turn to do the dishes. Start them young and all that!